Based on the Jane Austen novella ‘Lady Susan’ and set in the 1790s, earlier than most Austen tales, Whit Stillman’s exquisite comedy of matchmaking and heart-breaking Love & Friendship concerns beautiful young widow Lady Susan Vernon (Kate Beckinsale). The deliciously scheming and manipulative Lady Susan has come to Churchill, the estate of her in-laws, to wait out the colourful rumours about her dalliances circulating through polite society.

Whilst ensconced there, she decides to secure a husband for herself and for her eligible but reluctant school-girl daughter Frederica (Morfydd Clark). The waters are troubled by the arrival at Churchill of the handsome, eligible Reginald DeCourcy (Xavier Samuel) and silly but cheerful – and very rich – Sir James Martin (Tom Bennett).

Love & Friendship is out in cinemas today.